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Most Traveled People Who Paid Money

Most Traveled People Website Demands Subscriptions to Participate We are accustom to a free internet, a place where we can get and share information and entertainment completely without charge. It is my impression that it will not be like this for long. For many years I would log into a website called Mosttraveledpeople.com every few [...]

Most Traveled People Website Demands Subscriptions to Participate

We are accustom to a free internet, a place where we can get and share information and entertainment completely without charge. It is my impression that it will not be like this for long.

For many years I would log into a website called Mosttraveledpeople.com every few months, log in the countries that I had traveled to since my last visit, and find out what my “world ranking” was. I did this just for kicks, for a little entertainment, nothing serious — I enjoyed this website.

This morning, I tried to access the site and check of some new places in the world that I’ve traveled to, but something was different:

To continue participating in the site I would need to pay something like $5 a month or $50 a year.

What?

Screenshot of Most Traveled People subscription page

I would think that a website that tries to be a global register of travel rankings would need as many people participating as possible to validate itself. Demanding a subscription is a good way to kick people off a website, this seemed against the grain of the operation.

Am I really going to pay $50 a year for the privileged to sit in a bar, lean back, and say, “Well boys, I am the 1,371 st most traveled person on earth according to Mosttraveledpeople.com.”

No.

I clicked off the site, not to return, but I sent its owner an email prior to doing so:

Charles,
My name is Wade Shepard, I am the owner/ editor of www.VagabondJourney.com, and I once really enjoyed logging into your site every few months, updating my country count, and browsing around a little.
But when I tried to update my country count today I was taken to a screen that said that I had to subscribe and send you money. Now I do believe that you operate a very interesting, one of a kind website, but I can’t pay $50 a year for something that I may only use every few months. So I must say goodbye, so long, I hope you make this transition and MTP continues into the future.
Though it is my impression that you can no longer in good conscience call this site “Most Traveled People,” as I am sure that 90% of your membership as well as prospective members are not going to subscribe. So I will suggest a new title for the site, how about:
“Most Traveled People Who Gave Me Money”
Thanks for running a great site for so long, but it seems as if your quest for money has overtaken your creative passion.
So long,
Wade Shepard
www.Vagabondjourney.com

I wish that I did not include the last line in the message, as what Charles Veley is doing with Mosttraveledpeople.com is not unusual, it is the way of the future of the internet. Profit motive overtaking creative vision is the name of the game when operating large websites COSTS a lot of money.

I foresee a very different internet in the upcoming years. I envision an internet that will soon be run on subscriptions like cable television, an internet where most of the big, popular sites of a certain genre join together and charge a set yearly subscription fee for access to all of them.

Who is going to pay $50 a year just to log in how many countries they been to on Mosttraveledpeople.com? It is my impression that not many will. But if this website teamed up with 1,000 other top travel sites in a unified package that charged a yearly subscription fee, would you pay it?

There are always rumors that Facebook or Twitter are going to start charging subscriptions fees to use, and I do not believe them, as if they began charging someone else is going to create similar sites and offer them for free. But what if Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and 200 other similar sites all of a sudden teamed up and offered one big social media subscription package? Would you start all over again on other networks, leave social media, or just pay $20 or so a year?

I envision an internet that will soon possess the same dichotomy as the one between cable/ satellite/ paid TV and network television:

The subscription internet will contain most of the top sites, almost all of the big name, high traffic, good quality websites, while the free internet will only be crappy sites filled with advertising and online stores trying to sell you something.

It is my impression that subscription internet will soon become convention, and when sites like Mosttraveledpeople.com begin charging subscription fees for full use nobody is going to bat an eye, as this will be the norm.

I predict that the quality internet will no longer be free, as in a world with an almost infinite number of websites, advertisers know that they can pay a bottom of the barrel rate for placement on 99% of them. Without profitable advertising, without charging subscriptions, how are webmaster able to cover their costs of operation, much less make a profit?

It is expensive to run a big, high traffic website, I am experiencing that right now with VagabondJourney.com. I, too, ask for subscriptions, but I do not withhold content for money as I know that 99% of my readers will not subscribe. But what am I going to do when that fated day comes when I need to move the site over to a dedicated server? What is going to happen if I find myself with an operational overhead that challenges my earnings?

Will I turn the site off and make the best parts of it subscription only?

This is the challenge of the webmaster: how to make money sharing information. The position of Mosttraveledpeople.com is clear, I understand the decision to charge, and I expect to see many other “subscribe for full use” sites in the future. Publishing a popular website needs to be profitable, they take time and money to run, and an income stream needs to be generated. Very few magazines or newspapers will continue profitless, free access, operation, so why is this expected of websites?

It is my impression that the full access free internet will soon be a luxury of the past.

What are your impressions about this? Would you pay a subscription for access to the top travel sites?

Related articles: Subscribe to Vagabond Journey Travel Please | Why you should donate to Vagabond Journey | Donate to Vagabond Journey

Filed under: Internet, Website Construction

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 88 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3413 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

Support Wade Shepard’s writing on this blog (please help):

Wade Shepard is currently in: Prague, Czech Republic

4 comments… add one

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  • Bob L October 6, 2010, 5:12 pm

    I can’t wait. It will get me to stop getting on it and I will end up going outside instead. There is no way I would pay for cable TV now, and there is no way I will pay for subscriptions to ANY on-line site. There is a reasonable possibility that I would pay for the internet if I was in charge of that decision, but only if the price was low.

    Businesses and Governments often find that when they raise the price of something, they end up making less profit in the long run.

    Maybe I am just a cheap bastard…..

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com October 6, 2010, 5:40 pm

      Haha, for sure. I suppose whether or not a website is able to make a good living from advertising revenue is also based on how calculated its main content is. If I had a website that was only about air travel, I could roll in the dough — or a site about hostels, hotels, bicycle travel, going to tourist sites, or about a single destination. It is the vast sites that take in a wide range of topics throughout the world that are hard to make a living from.

      Will keep trying though.

      I was a little annoyed that this website that I mention above wanted money for me to participate (to contribute to the site), but I do understand where the owner is coming from: it is frustrating to operate a high traffic, somewhat popular website and to struggle with coming up with the cash to fund it. This is just the way that it is though.

      Will keep chipping away, will make a living someday.

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  • Dan December 27, 2010, 8:04 pm

    I’m with you. I used to get onto MTP to log my journeys and noticed I would go out of my way jut to be able to check off another place. So when MTP started charging a subscription I had to stop logging in. That’s a shame because it was a fun way to keep track of my travels. But because I could no longer sign into MTP, I decided to start one of my own. And thus wanderberry.com was born. It’s very new and mainly a site that my traveling friends and I can keep track of our adventures but we did add lists similar to MTP. We’ve divided it into multiple subjects so you can keep track of the things that interest you. Check it out!

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    • Wade | Vagabond Journey.com December 29, 2010, 2:55 pm

      Yes, MTP has really shot themselves in the foot here and they have opened up the market for other sites — such as yours — that offers a similar service for free. MTP had something unique going on, and many travelers enjoyed it, now I will not even think of logging in, they are done. Going to check out your site, thanks.

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